Raw sewage forces renters to evacuate apartments in Farmington Hills

Obstruction in sanitary sewer causes evacuation

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – Residents of an apartment complex in Farmington Hills were forced to evacuate their homes Monday night because of raw sewage in the rooms.

Carpet cleaners and restoration crews spent Tuesday hauling out flooring and debris at the Cedar Ridge Apartments near Grand River Avenue and Middlebelt Road in Farmington Hills.

Officials believe some sort of obstruction in the sanitary sewer caused the backup. Crews will return Wednesday to investigate the exact cause, but residents are trying to salvage as many of their belongings as possible.

"It was soaking the padding and carpet," resident Jasmine Rowe said.

Crews placed fans on high speed as hoses pumped out the sewage.

"Our main entryway was flooded," Rowe said. "There were two inches of water in that hallway."

In some cases, the flooring had to be completely removed. On the first floor, 20 units were flooded by the sewer backup.

"There was water everyway," Rowe said. "We have to throw shoes away, but it's not as bad as it could have been."

Oakland County water resource crews found water backups in nearby manholes on Grand River and Tulane avenues. Crews used a large, high-pressure hose to flush the sewer drain.

The obstruction was cleared within a few hours, officials said, but the cleanup was just beginning. The stench of sewage was, at times, overpowering, residents said.

"Last night it smelled awful, just awful," Rowe said. "I'm just happy nothing got super-ruined."

Investigators said they will continue to look into the cause of the backup.